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Plan would drop legally drunk from B.A. of 0.08 to 0.05

Police departments nationwide stand to cash in if state governments embrace a controversial plan proposed by The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to drop the definition of "drunk driving" from 0.08 to 0.05.  The five-member board voted unanimously to approve the new policy suggestion.

I. NTSB Says Its Time to Get Strict

Drunk driving laws in the U.S. first landed in the early 1900s; New York became the first state to ban it in 1910, with a legal blood alcohol limit of 0.15 percent blood alcohol.  For many decades the limit remained at 0.15 in many states; then in the 1980s a push by advocacy groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) led to states embracing a stricter limit of 0.08, while adopting "zero-tolerance" limits of 0.01 or 0.02 percent blood alcohol for teenage drivers.

The NTSB justifies yet another serious increase, arguing that alcohol remains responsible for a third of road deaths.  NTSB Chairman Debbie Hersman says there's "no silver bullet" for drunk driving, but she comments, "This is critical because impaired driving remains one of the biggest killers in the United States.  In the last 30 years, more than 440,000 people have perished in this country due to alcohol-impaired driving. What will be our legacy 30 years from now?  If we don't tackle alcohol-impaired driving now, when will we find the will to do so?"


While body chemistry varies, a 180-pound (81.6 kg) male will typically hit 0.08 after four "drinks" (12 oz. domestic beers) over an hour, according to the University of Oklahoma.  Three drinks would be required to hit 0.06; however keep in mind that many "tall" (or standard size craft) beers or mixed drinks count as two or more "drinks".

II. Technology Battle Over Drunk Driving is Heated

According to the NTSB as little as 0.01 BAC (blood alcohol content) can lead to lane departures.  At 0.02 they exhibit drowsiness, and at 0.04 their vigilance is substantially reduced.
Global blood alcohol limits
Global blood alcohol limits [Image Source: NTSB]

Many police departments nationwide are increasing drunk driving ticket via another mechanism -- passive sensors.  Passive sensors "sniff" the air for the presence of alcohol during traffic stops, so that officers don't have to rely on driving behavior, driver demeanor, or breath odor (which might be influenced by mints or gum) to determine if a driver might be drunk.

Drunk driver
Police are increasing using passive sensors to catch drunk drivers. [Image Source: CNN]

At the same time some cases have challenged the accuracy/validity of breathalyzers, demanding their code be shared with defendants.

The issue is likely to remain a hot button topic for years to come, particularly if the NTSB succeeds in pushing this stricter standard on the public.  The NTSB has also been busy trying to crack down on distracted driving.  Texting while driving has been shown in some studies to be more dangerous than drunk driving.

Source: NTSB



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Cash grab
By adrift02 on 5/15/2013 11:54:41 AM , Rating: 2
I'm as against drinking and driving as the next guy but this is just a cash grab plain and simple. I don't see any evidence proving that a .05 limit will make the roads safer (beyond their "claim"), I'd bet they're just looking at how many more people they would have nailed with that huge fine. And lets be real, a cop can arrest you regardless of your BAC if he feels you're impaired and many states already have "hidden" laws like it's illegal to have even one beer and drive within an hour.




RE: Cash grab
By othercents on 5/15/2013 12:07:05 PM , Rating: 2
The punishment for drunk driving is not stiff enough to discourage drunk driving. In Turkey they take your license if the police thinks you are impaired drunk and there isn't a test for limit levels.


RE: Cash grab
By FITCamaro on 5/15/2013 1:12:48 PM , Rating: 2
My brother who was issued a DUI and had the conviction overturned disagrees with you.

Even despite it not holding up due to mistakes by the cop(they let him off on technicalities but stipulated he still had to do certain things), he is still fighting it 3-4 years later. He is currently redoing the year where you have a breathalyzer hooked to your ignition because even though he had the paperwork to prove he'd already done it, they said we don't care.

Granted he should just feel lucky to not be in jail and have a license. But he would disagree that the punishment isn't harsh.

Turkey is also becoming a strict Muslim country under Shariah law where alcohol in general is frowned upon.


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